It’s being reported today that Britons who refuse to wear face coverings in newly-mandatory settings could be fined £200.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a Downing Street news conference on Saturday evening, alongside Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance.
During the news conference, a number of new measures were announced that are set to be introduced from tomorrow in a bid to curb the spread of the new Omicron variant, and one of those measures was the compulsory wearing of face coverings on public transport, and in shops and retail settings.
There was no mention or confirmation of fines during the conference.
But now, according to a report published in the Telegraph, those challenged about not wearing a mask will face a fine of £200, which rises to £400 for a second offence, and £800 for a third, and could even continue to accumulate up to £6,400 for the worst repeat offenders.
A change to regulations will be tabled in the House of Commons on Monday before the rules come into effect on Tuesday, the newspaper reported.
Measures taking effect from 4am tomorrow:
Everyone entering the UK – other than those coming from the Common Travel Area that covers the Channel Islands and Ireland – will have to take a PCR test by the end of the second full day after their arrival and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
All contacts of suspected Omicron cases must self-isolate, regardless of whether or not they are fully vaccinated.
Face coverings will be made compulsory on public transport and in shops – but pubs and restaurants will remain exempt.
The mask-wearing fining system will remain the same as during the third national lockdown, and those who pay their first fine within 14 days will see the charge halved to £100.
The re-introduction of compulsory mask-wearing in shops and on public transport is one part of a host of measures aimed at preventing the spread of the Omicron variant – first discovered in South Africa – of which there have been three cases detected in the UK, and, as announced this morning, six cases detected in Scotland.
It also comes as the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is due to make a decision on booster jabs and vaccine rollouts as early as today.
Health secretary Sajid Javid said the measures being introduced from 4am tomorrow were proportionate given the threat of the Omicron variant – which scientists fear could be more transmissible and vaccine resistant.
He told Sky News yesterday: “Doing it in this proportionate way where it’s for public transport, it’s for retail outlets, I think is the right level of response on masks.
“It will be via government regulation and that means, I think, that people will take it seriously.”
Mr Javid also claimed that the tightening of the rules would make Britons take the threat of the virus “more seriously”.
The rules will be reviewed in three weeks time.
Featured Image – TfGM
Lee Rigby’s son is raising tens of thousands for charity in honour of his dad
Jack Rigby, the son of soldier Lee Rigby, is raising an absolutely huge amount of money for charity in memory of his father.
Rigby, a former Royal Fusilier who served in Afghanistan for three years, was tragically murdered by extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale outside the Woolwich Barracks in May 2013 and now, over a decade after his death, his son is hoping to raise as much as possible in his honour.
His dad was 25 when he was killed and Jack himself was only two-years-old at the time. Now 13, the inspiring young man set out on his fundraising journey earlier this year, completing a marathon on behalf of Scotty’s Little Soldiers back in May, a military bereavement charity.
Setting himself the goal of reaching the ‘Scotty’s March’ £10k target — i.e. hoping to raise a £1,000 for each year since his passing — Jack and his family have been blown after the fundraiser has already amassed over £55k in donations.
With the goalposts now being moved to £60,000 after Jack and his mum Rebecca’s efforts have led to nearly £55k in contributions to the specialised bereavement organisation to support grieving military children and young people up to the age of 25.
Writing in his post when the fundraiser was first set up, Jack said, “This year marked the 10-year anniversary, it’s never easy but this year felt even harder for some reason. To help me through this year I have been concentrating on raising funds and awareness for Scotty’s Little Soldiers…
“This [has] really helped me to concentrate on something positive at a very difficult time while helping this amazing charity“, an intitiave he has been a part ever since he was a young child, adding that he named his dog Scotty in tribute to their important work for military families across the UK.
It was only earlier this year that the teenager spoke out about his father for the first time having already smashed his fundraising target before he had even run his marathon.
As for mum, she said: “Jack was so excited to see the amount grow and seeing how much each donation made him smile meant the world to me. He and I read all the messages of support and were thankful for them all. We honestly couldn’t believe how kind and generous people were being.”
Featured Image — Gov.uk/Jack Rigby (via Scotty’s Little Soldiers)
Greater Manchester’s volunteer police officers are now trained to deal with ‘high tension’ events
Dozens of volunteer police officers across Greater Manchester are now being given public order training to deal with “high tension” events.
In case you aren’t too familiar, Public Order Public Safety (POPS) is an arm of policing that covers a wide range of events and operations that could present instances of high or increased tension, according to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).
Some events of this nature include protests, festivals, sporting events, and disorder – basically, anywhere where there may be a risk to public safety.
In order to make sure there’s more hands on deck when these situations arise, GMP has now confirmed that it’s beginning the process of training up its volunteer workforce – formally known as Police Specials, of which there are currently about 200 employed to work 16-hours each month – to be able to work such events.
This is so they know how to correctly handle and manage potentially tension-filled situations.
GMP says that around 30 Police Specials completed their level two training over four days at the police force’s specialist training centre in Openshaw this week.
This means they can now be deployed at high-profile events.
Chief Superintendent Chris Hill, who is the strategic lead at GMP, say Police Specials play an “important role” for the police force, as they often join response teams or are put to good use by providing a link between local Greater Manchester communities and GMP.
“Special constables have the same powers and look the same as regular officers,” CS Hill explained, “but the difference is they are volunteers and can have regular jobs as well.
“The specials that completed the training are now highly-trained in tactics, as well as how to use equipment including helmets and shields, and can be deployed to high-profile football matches and events or demonstrations where there is an increase in tension.
“We hope this will make joining GMP as a special a more interesting and exciting prospect.”
Mike Walmsley, who is GMP’s Chief Officer and oversees the Special Constabulary, added how great it is to see a “continued investment” in the special constables.
He continued: “Having a team trained to public order level two allows us to further support our colleagues.
“[It will also] unlock more of the potential that the Special Constabulary has.
“We have already started to map out structured learning and supplied them with laptops and, coupled with further opportunities, this will allow our officers to develop further and support in existing and new areas.”